Yesterday's Bad Times are Today's Good Old Times: Retail Price Changes in the 1890s Were Smaller, Less Frequent, and More Permanent

44 Pages Posted: 4 May 2005

See all articles by Alan K. Detmeister

Alan K. Detmeister

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Date Written: April 2005

Abstract

This paper compares nominal price rigidity in retail stores during two 28-month periods: 1889-1891 and 1997-1999. The 1889-1891 microdata price quotes show: 1. a lower frequency of price changes; 2. a smaller average magnitude of price changes; 3. fewer small price changes; and, 4. fewer temporary price reductions. These differences are consistent with the 1889-1891 period having a higher cost of changing prices resulting in less adjustment to transitory price shocks. Changes in the retailing environment that may have led to a higher cost of changing prices in 1889-1891 are discussed.

Keywords: Nominal price rigidity, frequency of price change

JEL Classification: N81, N82, E31, L11

Suggested Citation

Detmeister, Alan K., Yesterday's Bad Times are Today's Good Old Times: Retail Price Changes in the 1890s Were Smaller, Less Frequent, and More Permanent (April 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=716402 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.716402

Alan K. Detmeister (Contact Author)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

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